10 October 2013

Novosibirsk against cancer: details

Vaccination against a tumor

Alexey Khadaev, Rossiyskaya GazetaNovosibirsk innovative company has successfully completed preclinical trials of a therapeutic vaccine against breast cancer.

In the near future, the method will be tested on volunteers at the Municipal Clinical Hospital No. 1. In two or three years, a new way of treating cancer can be put into practice.

The essence of the development is to "tune" the patient's immune system to fight tumor cells, this distinguishes the therapeutic vaccine from widely used chemotherapy – no harm is done to the body in this case.

The effect of the vaccine is based on the use of genetically modified dendritic cells that stimulate specific T-lymphocytes, which in turn target the tumor.

Dendritic cells are responsible in the body for the production of antigens and their transmission to T-lymphocytes, which neutralize all foreign bodies – viruses, bacteria, and in this case tumor cells. For the discovery and study of these cells, Canadian researcher Ralph Steinman was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2011 (posthumously). And today it is one of the most rapidly developing areas of immunology, because new opportunities are opening up here to fight the most terrible enemy of humanity – cancer.

A therapeutic vaccine is prepared for each patient individually – dendritic cells are taken from the patient for modification. Using genetic engineering methods, researchers embed a DNA sequence into the genome of a dendritic cell that carries information about the antigens of a tumor cell. Then the cell transmits this information to T-lymphocytes and they acquire the ability ("learn") to target the tumor.

According to the developers, the vaccine will increase the average survival rate for the most aggressive form of breast cancer by about 30 percent. There is no doubt about the relevance of the development.

– We did not have time to announce the end of preclinical in vitro tests (in vitro), as we were hit by a flurry of calls and letters asking us to include volunteers in the team, – says Sergey Zaitsev, CEO of the developer company.

Breast cancer occupies the first place in the structure of women's oncology, every year in the world this disease claims more than 600 thousand lives. In Russia, according to the State Statistics Committee, there has been an increase in the incidence in recent years, with the peak detection of breast cancer occurring at the age of 40 to 60 years.

So far, only one therapeutic vaccine has been brought to practical use in the world – a prostate cancer drug developed by an American company. But the Siberian innovation has an important advantage over its foreign counterpart.

– The American vaccine activates only dendritic cells, and ours also activates T-lymphocytes, – explains Sergey Zaitsev. – The problem is that the tumor resists T cells, suppresses their activity, and we were able to bypass this point. The know-how is patented abroad.

And, of course, the Siberian method of treatment is much cheaper than foreign, the cost of one course of treatment in the United States is 100 thousand dollars, Siberians intend to meet 10 thousand. In addition, new technologies open up new perspectives.

– A therapeutic vaccine is actually not a pharmaceutical product, but a method of treatment, – says Candidate of Chemical Sciences Sergey Zaitsev. – And this means that this approach can be applied to the treatment of other diseases. We have an understanding of how to make a therapeutic vaccine against HIV-1. Promising results have been obtained for tuberculosis and universal influenza vaccines.

But how can we create a vaccine against the human immunodeficiency virus? Until recently, this was considered fundamentally impossible.

– HIV is an ancient virus with a very unstable, changeable genome, – explains Sergey Zaitsev. – The immune response to it actually occurs in the body, but during this time the virus has time to change and the antibodies do not recognize it. Our Director of Science, Amir Maksyutov, asked the question – how many HIV variants are possible in total? It turned out to be about ten million. Amir Zakievich developed a method of computer design of libraries of chimeric peptides with which he was able to reduce the antigenic properties of all the countless HIV variants to just two hundred peptides. Synthesizing these chains of amino acids can create a universal vaccine against HIV. A similar approach is applicable to the influenza virus.

By the way
Another Novosibirsk innovative company received a regional grant of 2 million rubles for the development of a therapeutic vaccine for lung cancer. This is a joint project with the Institute of Clinical Immunology SB RAMS. The results of the work should be presented in 2017. The development is also based on the genetic modification of dendritic cells.

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru10.10.2013

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